AMHCP defines telehealth as the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information via telecommunications technology. Telehealth services provided to families include appointments with health care providers, family education, and peer-to-peer support. Telehealth can be “synchronous” (real-time), such as a video or phone call between an individual and their provider, or “asynchronous” (store-and-forward), such as a case consultation between two providers through secure file exchange. Telehealth also includes remote patient monitoring, in which families use internet- or Bluetooth-enabled devices to send health data such as blood pressure, blood glucose, or weight to their provider.
Telehealth has the potential to expand access and increase equity within public health systems by reducing the burden on families associated with receiving care, such as geographic distance, travel costs, childcare needs, or language interpretation. Telehealth can be utilized across MCH focus areas to help ensure that individuals and families receive safe, timely, and high-quality care when and where they need it.
- CARES Act Telehealth Awards
- Telehealth Learning Communities
- Equity in Telehealth Policy Evaluation
- Telehealth Technical Assistance
In April 2020, HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau awarded AMCHP $4 million to support programs in building, improving, expanding, and sustaining the use of telehealth across three priority areas : Title V, Children & Youth With Special Health Care Needs, Newborn Bloodspot Screening (NBS) and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), and Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV).
In conjunction with an environmental scan on telehealth capacity of MCH public health systems in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AMCHP partnered with seven national organizations with subject matter expertise in the priority topics, telehealth, and lived experience. AMCHP awarded, through competitive RFP, 21 state, territorial, and tribal agencies to implement or expand telehealth efforts for the families. Projects varied from device lending libraries to community-based telehealth kiosks and spoke-hub consultation in rural clinics, but all shared a common goal: using telehealth to improve the experience of families receiving services from MCH systems. Learn more about the funded projects here.
Funded projects concluded in summer 2021. AMCHP continues to work with partners and awardees to monitor and share project outcomes with the broader MCH community. Visit the AMCHP Resource Library to access the products created by the CARES Act awardees and follow ongoing evaluation efforts.
In January 2021, AMCHP began hosting monthly virtual events to provide project awardees an opportunity to connect with one another and discuss the challenges and successes of their telehealth implementation. While CARES Act funded projects have concluded, AMCHP continues to create space for sharing among MCH programs with ongoing learning communities on telehealth topics such as addressing connectivity and internet access gaps to reach families, supporting deaf and hard of hearing children and families virtually, and building the telehealth evidence base with program evaluation and data, facilitated by AMCHP staff and national subject matter experts.
In partnership with Innovation Hub, AMCHP also offers quarterly learning community events to all practices designated as cutting-edge, including a current cohort of telehealth practices. The learning community focuses on building equitable evaluation practices for new telehealth programs and engaging families in continuous improvement efforts.
To learn more about the current telehealth learning opportunities for MCH professionals, please email email@example.com.
In addition to supporting programs in implementing telehealth, AMCHP is also currently evaluating the landscape of telehealth policy in the United States. Since the onset of the pandemic in the United States in March 2020, numerous policies and emergency regulations have been enacted that expanded the use of telehealth, which can reduce barriers in access to care for families and providers. This response has shown that telehealth policy has the potential to expand access to support and services within MCH public health systems and meaningfully advance health equity.
As policymakers and the public begin to plan for life after the pandemic, MCH public health systems have an opportunity to determine whether telehealth policies developed in response to the public health crisis should remain in effect. AMCHP continues to monitor changes to emergency regulations and federal legislation that impact the availability of telehealth to families in MCH public health systems and advocate for policies that improve access to care.
Visit the Maternal Health Bill Tracker for the latest on pending federal legislation to improve maternal health, including several bills on the topic of telehealth. View our recent Equity in Telehealth Policy resource to learn more about our framework to evaluate how policy can support the use of telehealth to improve health equity and read examples from emergency regulations in five states.
AMCHP also partners with the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) to support MCH programs in navigating telehealth policy.
AMCHP serves as a resource for MCH public health systems interested in exploring or implementing telehealth by offering ongoing technical assistance. MCH professionals can submit a request for technical assistance from AMCHP’s telehealth team for support on a range of telehealth topics, including, but not limited to:
- Telehealth implementation
- Barriers to telehealth use for families
- Telehealth privacy concerns
- Telehealth accessibility
- Virtual family engagement
- Understanding telehealth policy
AMCHP also partners with several national organizations working at the intersection of telehealth and maternal and child health and can connect TA requests to external subject matter experts for additional support and resources as needed.
Recent Resources & Tools
May 31 Virtual Round Table: Working with Families Virtually
Recording from May 31, 2022. Candace Lindow-Davies, Director of Outreach for Hands & Voices, shares how the organization is engaging families nationwide with virtual programming and what Hands & Voices has learned about supporting families virtually during the pandemic and beyond.
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May 12 Virtual Round Table: Taking EHDI Telehealth to the Next Level
Recording from May 12, 2022. Hear from Stephanie Mcvicar (Utah Department of Health), Sarah Stone (MA Department of Public Health), Kiera Kirschner (Utah parent), Brandt Culpepper (Georgia Department of Public Health), and Jessica Messersmith (University of South Dakota) as they share EHDI telehealth activities and experiences from around the country. Read More
Virtual Round Table: Taking EHDI Telehealth to the Next Level
Recording from March 24, 2022. Hear from Karl White, PhD, Director of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM), and Jessica Messersmith, PhD, Professor of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Dakota, on the latest in tele-audiology use and technology. Read More